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Anna Elizabeth Dickinson.

Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
In listening to the many interesting incidents of this young girl's life, not all entrusted to me for publication, my feelings have vacillated between pity and admiration,--pity, for all the trials of her childhood and youth, in loneliness, poverty, and disappointment; and admiration for the indomitable will, courage, and rare genius, by which she has carved her way, with her own right hand, to fame and independence. While so many truly great women, of other times and countries, have marred their fair names, and thrown suspicion on their sex by their vices and follies, this noble girl, through all temptations and discouragements, has maintained a purity, dignity, and moral probity of character, that reflect honor on herself, and glory on her whole sex.

Anna Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Philadelphia the 28th of October, 1842. Her father, John Dickinson, was a merchant of sound intellect, and moral principle, a clear, concise reasoner, an earnest abolitionist, and took an active part in the anti-slavery discussions of that time. He was a benevolent, trusting man, and through the noblest traits of his character became involved in his business relations, and was reduced to poverty. His misfortunes preyed upon his mind and health; and he died soon after with a disease of the heart, leaving a wife and five children, Anna, the youngest, [480] but two years old. The last night of his life was passed in an anti-slavery meeting, where he spoke earnestly; and on his way home, not feeling well, he stopped at a druggist's to get some medicine, and died there without a struggle.

Her mother, Mary Edmundson, was born in Delaware, of an aristocratic family. She is a woman of refinement and cultivation, and was carefully reared in conditions of ease and luxury.

Both were descendants of the early Quaker settlers, and rigid adherents to the orthodox Friends. Their courtship lasted thirteen years, showing the persistency and fidelity of the father on one side, and the calm deliberation of the mother on the other. As a baby, Anna was cross, sleepless, restless, and crying continually with a loud voice, thus preparing her lungs for future action. She was a wayward, wilful, intensely earnest, imaginative child, causing herself and her elders much trouble and unhappiness. They, seeing her impatience of control, endeavored to “break her will,” --a saying that has worked as much cruelty in the world as the proverb of Solomon, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Fortunately they did not succeed, and through the triumph of that indomitable will we boast to-day that the most popular American orator is a woman. She was considered an incorrigible child at school as well as at home. Though she always knew her lessons, the absurd and arbitrary discipline so chafed her free spirit that she was generally in a state of rebellion.

With courageous defiance she would submit to punishment rather than rules she thought foolish and unnecessary. She had an intuitive knowledge of character, and early saw the hypocrisy, deceit, and sham of the world,--the hollowness of its ceremonies, forms, and opinions; and with wonderful powers of sarcasm she could lay bare the faults and follies of those about her. Hence she was a terror to timid, designing teachers and scholars; and good children were warned against [481] her influence. Yet, as she was ever the champion of those who suffered wrong and injustice, she had warm friends and admirers among her schoolmates.

She says she always felt herself an Ishmaelite among children, fighting not only her own battles, but for those too timid and shrinking to fight for themselves. Her school-days were days of darkness and trial. Owing to her mother's limited means, she was educated in the free schools of the Society of Friends. Meeting there the children of wealthy Quakers, they would laugh at her poverty, and thoughtlessly ask her “why she wore such common clothes.” She would promptly reply, “My mother is poor, and we work for all we have.” Although she accepted her condition with bravery, she determined to better it as fast as she could; yet such taunts were alike galling to her and cruel in those who uttered them. Nevertheless, they were not without their power in developing the future woman; so far from depressing her youthful energies, they stung her into a nobler life. In her hours of solitude she would resolve to lift herself above their shafts, to make a home for her mother, and surround her with every comfort. Thus great souls feed and grow on what humbles smaller ones to dust.

Her love for her mother was the strongest feeling in her nature, and it was to relieve her from constant toil that she early desired some profitable employment that she might earn money for her own support. It was the sorrow of her childhood to see her mother pale and worn, struggling with all her multiplied cares,--for, in addition to her own family, she kept boarders and taught a private school. Thus, with ceaseless love and care and industry, that noble woman fed and clothed and educated her fatherless children, and to-day has the satisfaction of seeing them all noble men and women; and mid peace and plenty she remembers the long days of darkness, poverty, and self-denial no more. For the encouragement [482] of those parents who have wayward, wilful children, I would mention the fact that Anna, who was a greater trial to her mother than all her other children and cares put together, is now her pride, her comfort, and her support.

When about twelve years old she entered “Westown boarding-school of friends,” in Chester County, and remained there two years; from this she went to “Friends' select school” in Philadelphia, where she applied herself so diligently to her studies, that, although she pursued over a dozen branches at one time, she seldom failed in a recitation.

During all her school-days, she read with the greatest avidity every book that she could obtain. Newspapers, speeches, tracts, history, biography, poetry, novels, and fairy tales were all alike read and relished. For weeks and months together her average hours for sleep were not five in the twenty-four. She would often read until one o'clock in the morning, and then seize her school-books and learn her lessons for the next day. She did not study her lessons, for, with her retentive memory, what she read once was hers forever. The rhymes and compositions she wrote in her young days bear evident marks of genius. When fourteen years old she published an article headed “Slavery” in the “Liberator.” She early determined that she would be a public speaker. One of her greatest pleasures was to get a troop of children about her and tell them stories; if she could fix their attention and alternately convulse them with laughter, and melt them to tears, she was perfectly happy. She loved to wander all over the city alone, to think her own thoughts, and see what was going on in the outer world. One of her favorite rendezvous was the Anti-slavery Office in Fifth Street; where she would stay for hours to hear people talk about the horrors of slavery, or to read papers, tracts, and books on that subject. At seventeen she left school.

She was skilful in all kinds of housework, and orderly in [483] her arrangements. She was willing to do any kind of work to make an honest living. No service however hard, or humble, seemed menial to her. Being a born queen, she felt she dignified whatever she touched; even the broom became a sceptre of royalty in her hand.

When about thirteen years old she visited a lawyer's office one day, on her way from school, and asked for some copying. He, pleased with the appearance of the bright child, asked her if she intended to do it herself; she said, Yes. He gave her some, which she did so well that he interested himself at once in her behalf, and secured her work from other offices as well as his own. How she could get money to buy books was the one thought; next to helping her mother, that occupied her mind. To this end she would do anything,--run errands, carry bundles, sweep walks,--and as soon as she had obtained the desired sum, she would buy a book, read it with the greatest avidity, then take it to a second-hand book-store and sell it for a fraction of its cost and get another. When seven years old she would take Byron's works, secrete herself under the bed that she might not be disturbed, and read for hours. There was something in the style, spirit, and rhythm, that she enjoyed, even before the thought was fully understood. She had a passion for oratory, and when Curtis, Phillips, or Beecher lectured in Philadelphia, she would perform any service to get money enough to go. On one occasion she scrubbed a sidewalk for twenty-five cents, to hear Wendell Phillips lecture on “The lost Arts.” There are many very interesting anecdotes of her life during this period, illustrating her fortitude under most trying circumstances and her strong faith in a promising future. Through her magnetism and self-confidence she went forward and did many things gracefully and unchallenged, that others of her sex and age would not have had the courage or presumption to attempt. There was something so irresistible in her face and manner that entire [484] strangers would yield her privileges, which others would not dare to ask. In her fourteenth year while with relatives in the country, during the holidays, she attended a Methodist protracted meeting, and was deeply moved on the subject of religion, was converted and joined the church. Her mind, however, was much disturbed on theological questions for several years, but after great distress and uncertainty, with the opposing doctrines and opinions she heard on all sides, she found rest at last in the liberal views of those who taught that religion was life,--faith in the goodness, and wisdom of God's laws, and love to man. She disliked the silent Quaker meetings, and made every excuse to avoid them. Her repudiation of that faith was a source of unhappiness both to her family and herself. About this time she spent a few months as a pupil and assistant teacher in a school at New Brighton, Beaver County; but as her situation there was not pleasant, she applied for a district school that was vacant in that town. About to make the final arrangements with the committee, she asked what salary they gave. One gentleman remarked “A man has taught this school heretofore, and we gave him twenty-eight dollars a month; but we should not give a girl more than sixteen.” There was something in his manner and tone so insulting that her pride compelled her to scorn the place she needed, and, drawing herself up to her full proportions, she said with great vehemence, “Sir, are you a fool, or do you take me for one? Though I am too poor to-day to buy a pair of cotton gloves, I would rather go in rags, than degrade my womanhood by accepting anything at your hands.” And she shook the dust of that place from her feet, and went home to struggle on with poverty, firm in the faith of future success. Young, inexperienced, penniless, with but few friends, and none knowing her greatest trials, she passed weeks looking for a situation, in vain. At last she was offered a place as saleswoman in a store, which she accepted; [485] but finding that it was her duty to misrepresent goods to customers, she left at once, because she would not violate her conscience with the tricks of trade.

The distinctions she saw everywhere between boys and girls, men and women, giving all the opportunities and advantages of life to one sex, early filled her with indignation, and she determined to resist this tyranny wherever she found it. Sitting at home one Sunday in January, 1860, she read a notice that the “Association of Progressive friends” would hold a meeting that afternoon, to discuss “woman's rights and wrongs.” She resolved to go, and, in company with another young girl, was there at the appointed hour. Ten minutes were allowed the speakers to present their opposing views. “It was my good fortune,” says Dr. Longshore, “to be there, and to announce at the opening of the meeting, that ladies were particularly invited to speak, as the subject was one in which they were interested. In response to this invitation, after several persons had spoken, Anna arose near the centre of the hall. Her youthful face, black curls, and bright eyes, her musical voice, subdued and impressive manner, commanded at once the attention of the audience. She spoke twice, her allotted time, and right to the point. These were her first speeches in public, and her auditors will long remember that day.” She gave a new impulse to the meetings and a fresh interest in the association for months afterward.

The next Sunday she spoke again, and on the same subject. An attempt was made, by an opponent, by interruptions, foolish questions, sneers, and ridicule to put her down.

This was a tall, nervous, bilious man, who spoke with the arrogance and assumption usual in that type of manhood,as if he were a partner of the Most High in giving law to the universe; as if it were his special mission to map out the sphere of woman, the paths wherein she might with safety [486] walk. By some magnetic law he fixed his eyes on this strange girl, into whose soul the floods of indignation were pouring thick and fast; and when he finished, the scene that followed was almost tragic. She rose, her feelings at white heat, and, with flashing eye and crimson cheek, she turned upon her antagonist, looking him square in the face, and poured out the vials of her pent — up wrath,--the sum of all the wrongs she had felt through struggling girlhood; the insults to womanhood she had read and heard; the barbarisms of law, of custom, and of daily life, that but for the strong will God had given her to resist, would have ground her, with the multitudes of her sex, to powder. She poured out such volleys of invective, sarcasm, and denunciation, painted the helplessness of women with such pathos and power, giving touching incidents of her own hard experience, that her antagonist sunk lower and lower into his seat and bowed his head in silence and humiliation, while those who witnessed the scene were melted to tears. Never was an audience more electrified and amazed than were they with the eloquence and power of that young girl. No one knew who she was, or whence she came; but all alike felt her burning words, and withering scorn of him who had dared to be the mouth-piece of such time-honored insolence and cant about the sphere of woman. Pointing straight at him, and, with each step approaching nearer where e he sat, saying, You, sir, said thus and so, she swept away his arguments, one by one, like cobwebs before a whirlwind, and left him not one foot of ground whereon to stand. When she finished, he took his hat and sneaked out of the meeting like a whipped spaniel, to the great amusement of the audience, leaving their sympathies with the brave young girl.

From this hour Ellwood and Hannah Loagshore became Anna's most faithful and trusted friends and advisers. They [487] appreciated her genius, comprehended the difficulties of her position, and gave her a helping hand in securing means of support. They encouraged her ambition to become a public speaker. So intense and earnest was she in all her desires, that she easily surmounted every difficulty to secure her ends. No lions ever crouched in her path; it was the real, not the imaginary, that blocked her way.

Soon after the scene in the Sunday meeting, two gentlemen called at her home one day and inquired for Anna Dickinson. They had heard her speak, and were so much pleased that they desired to know something of her family and surroundings. As soon as they inquired for Anna, the mother's heart stood still, supposing that these men had come to complain of some of her pranks in the neighborhood; and she was by no means relieved, when she heard that her daughter had made a speech in a public meeting on Sunday, and they had come to congratulate her on her success.

Her public career was at first a great mortification to her mother, who felt that by this erratic course she was bringing shame and humiliation on her family, never dreaming that she was so soon to occupy one of the proudest positions before the American people, to distinguish her family, and place them in conditions of ease and luxury. But she shared the common fate of genius,--persecution in the house of its friends. At this time she became a constant visitor at the house of Dr. Longshore, and found there the affection and wisdom, the warm and sympathizing friendship, her generous and impulsive nature most needed for its development and control. They took her to their hearts, cared for her in every way, and to this day she calls their house her home.

“We felt towards her,” says Dr. Longshore,

as if she were our own child, and she lingered with us in her visits with filial devotion. We were the first strangers to manifest [488] an interest in her welfare and future plans, and she reciprocated our friendship with confidence and love. She was always so happy, so full of hope and life, that her presence seemed like that of an angel. Hour after hour, in the evening, when all was still, she would entertain us with her varied experiences, at home, in school, in church, in company, with lier teachers, playmates, and strangers, with her efforts to get books, clothes, comforts, laughing and crying by turn. Her recitals were so full, glowing, and eloquent, that we took 10 note of the passing time, and the midnight hours would often find us lingering still, pleased and patient listeners of this strange child's life.

After reading some thrilling account of the slave system, one night, she had a remarkable dream. She thought she was herself a slave-girl, the victim of all the terrible experiences of that condition. The toil, the lash, the starvation and nakedness, the auction-block, the brutality of driver and owner, were all so vividly painted on her imagination that she could not rid herself of the horrid realities of that system. She could never speak on that subject in public or private,. but this terrible memory would come vividly back to her, intensifying her feelings, and giving an added power to her words.

After attending the meeting of Progressive Friends for several weeks, she was invited to speak in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, and on the first Sunday in April, 1860, she made the first speech to which she had given any previous thought. The large school-house was crowded; her subject was “Woman's work.” Speaking from the depths of her own experience, she held the audience in breathless silence for over an hour. There was an indescribable pathos in her full, rich voice, that, aside from what she said, touched the hearts of her hearers, and moved many to tears. Her power seemed [489] miraculous to the people, and they would not disperse until she promised to speak again in the evening. Some one remarked at the adjournment, “If Lucretia Mott had made that speech, it would be thought a great one.” In the evening she spoke on the subject of slavery, for the first time, and with equal effect. A collection of several dollars was taken up for her, the first she ever received for giving an address.

Failing to find employment in Philadelphia, she accepted, as a last resort, a district school in Bucks County, with a salary of twenty-five dollars a month. She came home once in two weeks to take part in the Sunday meetings. On her eighteenth birthday she went to Kennett Square,--a small village thirty-two miles from Philadelphia,--to attend an anti-slavery meeting that remained in session two days. She spoke on slavery and non-resistance. In that doctrine of Friends she had no faith. A discussion arose as to the right and duty of slaves to forcible resistance. She and Robert Purvis, who was in the chair, spoke in the affirmative, and, in a protracted discussion, maintained their opinion, against the majority, “that resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” Anna wound up one of her glowing periods with the words of Lovejoy: “If I were a slave, and had the power, I would bridge over the chasm which yawns between the hell of slavery and the heaven of freedom, with carcasses of the slain.” The effect of her speech was startling, and thrilled the whole audience. Robert Purvis unconsciously rose from his chair, and bent forward, electrified with a new hope of liberty for his race, looking as if their fate rested on her lips.

During her summer vacation she spoke several times to large audiences in New Jersey. On one occasion, in the open air in a beautiful grove, where hundreds had assembled to hear her, she spoke both morning and afternoon on temperance and anti-slavery, producing a profound sensation. At another time several Methodist clergymen had assembled [490] to lay the corner-stone of a new church in a village where she was announced to speak. They went to hear her, from mere curiosity, in rather a sneering frame of mind; she, knowing that fact, was moved to speak with more than usual pathos and power. They made themselves quite merry in the beginning, but before she closed they were serious, subdued, and in tears. The next day one of them introduced himself to her, and said, “I have always ridiculed ‘Woman's Rights,’ but, so help me God, I never shall again.” At all these meetings contributions were taken up for her benefit, and she began to think that this might prove to be her means of support. On the evening of the day that she closed her school, she advertised a meeting to be held in the schoolhouse, but the crowd was so great that they adjourned to a church near by. She spoke on “Woman's work;” and with the novelty of the subject and the whole proceeding, she quite startled that stolid community.

Shortly after this she attended another anti-slavery meeting at Kennett Square. This meeting, held just in the beginning of the war, was rather an exciting one, and prolonged discussions arose on the duties of abolitionists to existing laws and constitutions. In the report from “Forney's press” we find the following notice:

The next speaker was a Miss Anna E. Dickinson, of Philadelphia, aged seventeen years,--handsome, of an expressive countenance, plainly dressed, and eloquent beyond her years. After the listless, monotonous harangues of the previous part of the day, the distinct, earnest tones of this juvenile Joan of Are were very sweet and charming. During her discourse, which was frequently interrupted, Miss Dickinson maintained her presence of mind, and uttered her radical sentiments with augmented resolution and plainness. Those who did not sympathize with her remarks were softened by her simplicity and solemnity. Her speech was decidedly the feature of the evening, provocative as it was of numerous, unmanly interruptions, and followed by discussion of prolonged and diversified interest. Miss Dickinson, we understand, is a member of the Society of Friends, and had been solicited, several times during the day, to address the audience, but waited for the inspiration of the evening, which came in the shape of Mrs. Grew's remarks. They were told, said Miss Dickinson, to maintain constitutions because they were constitutions, and compromises because they were compromises. [491] But what were compromises, and what was laid down in those constitutions? Eminent lawgivers have said that certain great fundamental ideas of right were common to the world, and that all laws of man's making which trampled upon those ideas were null and void,--wrong to obey, but right to disobey. The Constitution of the United States sat upon the neck of those rights, recognizes human slavery, and makes the souls of men articles of purchase and of sale.

There is not space to give her admirable speech on the higher law, nor the discussion that followed, in which Miss Dickinson maintained her position with remarkable clearness and coolness for one of her years. The flattering reports of this meeting in several of the Philadelphia journals introduced her to the public.

On the evening of the 27th of February she addressed an audience of about eight hundred persons in Concert Hall, Philadelphia. She spoke full two hours extemporaneously, and the lecture was pronounced a success. Many notables and professional men were present; and, although it was considered a marvellous performance for a young girl, Miss Dickinson herself was mortified, as she said, with the length of her speech, and its lack of point, order, and arrangement. She felt that she was not equal to the occasion; instead of being flattered with the praises bestowed upon her, she was filled with regret that she had not made a more careful and thoughtful preparation. But she learned an important lesson from what she considered a failure, worth more than it cost her.

Spring was opening, and her fresh young spirit and strong will demanded some new avenues to labor, some active, profitable work. In her searches for something to do, says a friend, “I met her one day in the street; said she, ‘I must work. I dislike the confinement and poor pay of school-teaching; but I shall go crazy unless I have work of some kind. Why can't I get into the Mint?’ After considering the possibilities of securing a place there, for some time, our plans were made, and, after many persistent efforts, we succeeded.” [492] In April she entered the United States Mint, to labor from seven o'clock in the morning to six at night for twenty-eight dollars a month. She sat on a stool all those long hours, in a close, impure atmosphere, the windows and doors being always closed in the adjusting room, as the least draft of air would vary the scales. She soon became very skilful in her new business, and did twice the amount of work of most other girls. She was the fastest adjuster in the Mint; but she could not endure the confinement, and soon changed to the coining-room. But this dull routine of labor did not satisfy her higher nature. After the day's work was done, she would go to the hospitals to write letters for the sick soldiers, to read to them, and talk over the incidents of the war. Many things conspired to make her situation in the Mint undesirable. The character and conversation of the inmates were disagreeable to her; hence she kept them at a distance, while, her opinions on slavery and woman's rights being known, she was treated with reserve and suspicion in return. In November she made a speech in Westchester on the events of the war, which increased this state of feeling towards her, and culminated in her discharge from the Mint, in the Christmas holidays. This meeting was held just after the battle of Ball's Bluff. In summing up the record of this battle, after exonerating Stone and Baker, she said, “History will record that this battle was lost, not through ignorance and incompetence, but through the treason of the commanding general, George B. McClellan, and time will vindicate the truth of my assertion.” She was hissed all over the house, though some cried, “Go on,” “Go on.” She repeated this startling assertion three times, and each time was hissed. Years after, when McClellan was running against Lincoln in 1864, when she had achieved a world-wide reputation, she was sent by the Republican committee of Pennsylvania, to this same town, to speak to the same people, in the same [493] hall. In again summing up the incidents of the war, when she came to Ball's Bluff, she said, “I say now, as I said three years ago, history will record that this battle was lost, not through ignorance or incompetence, but through the treason of the commanding general, George B. McClellan.” “And time has vindicated your assertion,” was shouted all over the house. It was this speech, made in 1861, that cost her place in the Mint. Ex-Governor Pollock dismissed her, and owned that his reason was the Westchester speech, for at that time McClellan was the idol of the nation. She says that was the best service the Governor could have rendered her, as it forced her to the decision to labor no longer with her hands for bread, but to open some new path for herself.

She continued speaking, during the winter, in many of the neighboring towns, on the political aspects of the war. As the popular thought was centring everywhere on national questions, she began to think less of the special wrongs of women and negroes, and more of the causes of revolutions, and the true basis of government. These broader views secured her popularity, and made her available in party politics at once. In the mean time Mr. Garrison, having heard Anna Dickinson speak at Westchester and Longwood, and being both charmed and surprised with her oratorical power, invited her to visit Boston, and make his house her home. Before going to Boston some friends desired that she should make the same speech in Philadelphia that had occasioned her dismissal from the Mint. Accordingly, Concert Hall was engaged. Judge Pierce, an early friend of woman's rights, presided at the meeting, and introduced her to the audience. She had a full house, at ten cents admission, was received with great enthusiasm, and acquitted herself to her own satisfaction, as well as that of her friends. After all expenses were paid she found herself the happy possessor of a larger sum of money than she had ever had before; and now, in consultation with [494] good Dr. Hannah Longshore, it was decided that she should have her first silk dress. With this friend's advice and blessing, she went to New England to endure fresh trials and disappointments before securing that unquestioned reputation and pecuniary independence she enjoys to-day. Through the influence and friendship of Mr. Garrison she was invited to speak in Theodore Parker's pulpit on Sunday morning, as leading reformers were then doing. Accordingly she spoke, in Music Hall, on the “National crisis.” Her first lecture in Boston was the greatest trial she ever experienced. Her veneration for the character of a Boston audience almost over-matched her courage and confidence in her ability to sustain herself through such an ordeal. Her friends also had misgivings, and feared a failure, as they noticed that Anna could neither sleep nor eat for forty-eight hours previous to the lecture. Some were so confident that she would fail to meet the expectations of the immense audience, that they refused to sit on the platform. Mr. Garrison opened the meeting. He read a chapter of the Bible, and consumed some time in remarks in order to make the best of the dilemma, which, in common with many, he, too, apprehended, while Anna waited behind him to be “presented,” in an agony of suspense she struggled to conceal. At last she was introduced, and began in some broken, hesitating sentences; but, gradually becoming absorbed in her subject, she forgot herself and her new surroundings, and so completely held the attention and interest of the audience for over an hour that the fears of her friends were turned to rejoicings, the anticipations of the few were more than realized, and her own long anxious hours of prayers and tears were forgotten in the proud triumph of that day. At the close she was overpowered with thanks, praises, and salutations of love and gratitude. As she delivered this lecture in several of the New England cities I give the following notice:-- [495]

The new star.

If to have an audience remain quiet, attentive, and sympathizing during the delivery of a long lecture, is any indication of the ability, tact, and success of the speaker, we think it may be claimed for Miss Dickinson that she is a compeer worthy to be admitted as a particular star in the large and brilliant constellation of genius and talent now endeavoring to direct the country to the goal of negro emancipation.

Music Hall was filled to overflowing; hundreds of the audience went early, and must have sat there more than an hour before the lecture began; and, yet, we do not remember to have seen less signs of weariness and inattention at any lecture we ever attended in this city. Her voice is clear and penetrating, without being harsh; her enunciation is very distinct, and at times somewhat rhythmic in its character, with enough of a peculiar accent to indicate that her home has not been in Massachusetts. Her whole appearance and manner are decidedly attractive, earnest, and expressive. Her lecture was well-arranged, logical, and occasionally eloquent, persuasive, and pathetic.

She traced the demands and usurpations of the Slave Power from the commencement of our government till the present time, and proved that, because it could not hope to control the country in the future as it had in the past, it raised the standard of rebellion,--an act long since determined upon when such an exigency should arise. Slavery being thus proved to be the cause of the war, the justice, necessity, and propriety of its abolition, as a means of present defence and future security and peace, was forcibly illustrated.

That the slave was prepared for freedom was proved by the thousands who have passed through so much danger and suffering to obtain it. The inhuman character of the fugitive slave enactment was most beautifully referred to, bringing tears to many eyes which are not accustomed to weep over the wrongs of the colored race.

She spoke in eloquent terms of Fremont, which met with a hearty response from the audience, as did other parts of her address. On the whole, we think her friends here must be greatly delighted with her first effort, on her first visit to our old Commonwealth.

Previous to the delivery of the lecture, the “ Negro Boatman's Song,” by Whittier, was sung by a quartette, accompanied by the organ, and the exercises were closed by singing “ America,” in which the audience joined.

Fall River Press.

She spent the following summer in reading and study, collecting materials for other lectures. She continued, as she had time, to visit the government hospitals, and made herself a most welcome guest among our soldiers. In her long conversations with them, she learned their individual histories, experiences, hardships, and sufferings; the motives that prompted them to go into the army; what they saw there, and what they thought of war in their hours of solitude, away from the excitement of the camp and the battle-field. Thus [496] she got an insight into the soldier's life and feelings, and from these narratives drew her materials for that deeply interesting lecture on Hospital Life, which she delivered in many parts of the country.

In October, 1862, she spoke before the Boston Fraternity Lyceum, for which she received many flattering notices and one hundred dollars. She had hoped, through the influence of friends, to make a series of appointments for the winter, and thus secure a means of support. But the military reverses and discouragements left but little spirit among the people for lectures of any kind, and she travelled from place to place until her funds were exhausted. Her lecture at Concord, New Hampshire, was her last engagement for, the season, and the ten dollars promised there was all she had in prospect for future need until something else might offer.

This was a trying experience, for she had just begun to hope that her days of darkness had passed and triumph was near. In speaking of it she says, “No one knows how I felt and suffered that winter, penniless and alone, with a scanty wardrobe, suffering with cold, weariness, and disappointment. I wandered about on the trains day after day, among strangers, seeking employment for an honest living, and failed to find it. I would have gone home, but had not the means. I had borrowed money to commence my journey, promising to remit soon; failing to do so, I could not ask again. Beyond my Concord meeting all was darkness; I had no further plans.” But her lecture there on Hospital Life was the turning-point in her fortunes. In this speech she proved slavery to be the cause of the war, and that its continuance would result in prolonged suffering to our soldiers, defeat to our armies, and the downfall of the republic. She related many touching incidents of her experiences in hospital life, and drew such vivid pictures of the horrors of both war and slavery, that, by her pathos and logic, she melted her audience to tears, [497] and forced the most prejudiced minds to accept her conclusions.

It was on this occasion that the secretary of the State Central Committee heard her for the first time. He remarked to a friend, at the close of the lecture, “If we can get this girl to make that speech all through New Hampshire, we can carry the Republican ticket in this State in the coming election.” Fully appreciating her magnetic power over an audience, he resolved at once, that, if the State Committee refused to invite her, he should do so on his own responsibility.

But, through his influence, she was invited by the Republican committee, and on the first of March commenced her regular campaign speeches. In the four weeks before election, she spoke twenty times,--everywhere to crowded, enthusiastic audiences. Her march through the State was a succession of triumphs, and ended in a Republican victory. The member in the first district, having no faith that a woman could influence politics, sent word to the secretary, “Don't send that d-- woman down here to defeat my election.” The secretary replied, “We have work enough for her to do in other districts, without interfering with you.” But when the would-be honorable gentleman saw the furor she created, he changed his mind, and inundated the secretary with letters to have her sent there. But the secretary replied, “It is too late; the programme is arranged, and published throughout the State. You would not have her when you could, and now you cannot have her when you will.” It is pleasant to record that this man, who had the moral hardihood to use a profane adjective in speaking of a woman, lost his election; and thus our congressional halls were saved from so demoralizing an influence. His district was lost by a large majority, while the other districts went strongly Republican. When the news came that the Republicans had carried the State, due credit was awarded to Anna Dickinson for her faithful [498] labors in securing the victory. The governor-elect made personal acknowledgments that her eloquent speeches had secured his election. She was serenaded, feasted, and eulogized by the press and the people.

New Hampshire safe, all eyes were now turned to Connecticut. The contest there was between Seymour and Buckingham. It was generally conceded that, if Seymour was elected, Connecticut would give no more money or troops for the war. The Republicans were completely disheartened. They said nothing could prevent the Democrats from carrying the State by four thousand, while the Democrats boasted that they would carry it by ten thousand. Though the issue was one of such vital importance, there seemed so little hope of success, that the Republicans were disposed to give it up without making an effort. And no resistance to this impending calamity was made until Anna Dickinson went into the State, and galvanized the desponding loyalists to life. She spent two weeks there, addressing large and enthusiastic audiences all over the State, and completely turned the tide of popular sentiment. Even the Democrats, in spite of the scurrilous attacks on her by some of their leaders and editors, received her everywhere with the warmest welcome, tore off their party badges, and substituted her likeness, and applauded whatever she said. The halls where she spoke were so densely packed, that Republicans stayed away to make room for the Democrats, and the women were shut out to give place to those who could vote. There never was such a furor about an orator in this country. The period of her advent, the excited condition of the people, her youth, beauty, and remarkable voice, all heightened the effect of her genius, and helped to produce this result. Her name was on every lip. Ministers preached about her, prayed for her as a second Joan of Arc, raised up by God to save that State to the loyal party, and through it the nation to freedom and [499] humanity. As the election day approached, the excitement was intense; and when at last it was announced that the State was saved by a few hundred votes, the joy and gratitude of the crowds knew no bounds. They shouted and hurrahed for Anna Dickinson, serenaded her with full bands of music, sent her presents of flowers, ornaments, and books, manifesting in every way their love and loyalty to this gifted girl, who, through so many years, had bravely struggled with poverty to this proud moment of success in her country's cause.

Some leading men in Connecticut presented her a gold watch and chain as a memento for her valuable services in the State, paid her a hundred dollars for every night she had spoken there, and for the last night before election, in Hartford, four hundred dollars. From the following comments of the press, the reader may form some idea of the enthusiasm of the people:--

Miss Dickinson at Allyn Hall.

The highest compliment that the Union men of this city could pay Miss Anna B. Dickinson was to invite her to make the closing and most important speech in this campaign. They were willing to rest their case upon her efforts. She may go far and speak much; she will have no more flattering proof of the popular confidence in her eloquence, tact, power, than this. Her business being to obtain votes for the right side, she addressed herself to that end with singular adaptation. But when we add to this lawyer-like comprehension of the necessities of the case, her earnestness, enthusiasm, and personal magnetism, we account for the effect she produced on the vast audience Saturday night.

Allyn Hall was packed as it never was before. Every seat was crowded. The aisles were full of men who stood patiently for more than three hours, the window-sills had their occupants, every foot of standing-room was taken, and in the rear of the galleries men seemed to hang in swarms like bees. Such was the view from the stage. The stage itself and the boxes were filled with ladies, giving the speaker an audience of at least two hundred who could not see her face.

To such an audience Miss Dickinson spoke for two hours and twenty minutes, and hardly a listener left the hall during that time. Her power over the audience was marvellous. She seemed to have that absolute mastery of it which Joan of Arc is reported to have had of the French troops. They followed her with that deep attention which is unwilling to lose a word, but greeted her, every few moments, with the most wild applause, which continued often for several minutes, breaking forth afresh with irrepressible enthusiasm. We find no occasion to abate a word from the very high estimate given of [500] her as an orator from her first speech in this city. And she added vastly, on Saturday night, to the estimate of her by her versatility and ability as an advocate. The speech, in itself, and its effect was magnificent,--this strong adjective is the proper one. If the campaign were not closed, we should give a full sketch of the speech, for its pertinent effect. But the work of the campaign is done. And it only remains, in the name, we are sure, of all loyal men in this district, to express to Miss Dickinson most heartfelt thanks for her splendid, inspiring aid. She has aroused everywhere respect, enthusiasm, and devotion, let us not say to herself alone, but to the country. While such women are possible in the United States, there isn't a spot big enough for her to stand on, that won't be fought for so long as there is a man left.

Fresh from the victories in New Hampshire and Connecticut, she was announced to speak in Cooper Institute, New York. That meeting in May, 1862, was the most splendid ovation to a woman's genius since Fanny Kemble, in all the wealth of her youth and beauty, appeared on the American stage for the first time. On no two occasions of my life have I been so deeply moved, so exalted, so lost in overflowing gratitude, that woman had revealed her power in oratory,that highest art to touch the deepest feelings of the human soul,--and verified at last her right to fame and immortality. There never was such excitement over any meeting in New York. Although the hall was densely crowded long before the hour announced, yet the people outside were determined to get in at all hazards,--ushers were beaten down, those without tickets rushed in, and those with tickets were pushed aside, and thousands went home unable to get standing-places even in the lobbies and outer halls.

The platform was graced with the most distinguished men and women in the country, and so crowded that the young orator had scarce room to stand. There were clergymen, generals, admirals, judges, lawyers, editors, the literati and leaders of fashion, and all alike ready to do homage to this simple girl, who moved them alternately to laughter and tears, to bursts of applause and the most profound silence. Mr. Beecher, who was president of the meeting, introduced the speaker in his happiest manner. For more than an hour she [501] held that large audience with deep interest and enthusiasm, and, when she finished with a beautiful peroration, the people seemed to take a long breath, as if to find relief from the intensity of their emotions.

Loud cries followed for Mr. Beecher; but he arose, and, with great feeling and solemnity, said, “Let no man open his lips here to-night; music is the only fitting accompaniment to the eloquent utterances we have heard.” So the Hutchinsons closed the meeting with one of their soul-stirring ballads, and the audience dispersed.

As none of the materials furnished for this sketch have interested me more than the comments of the press, I give the following. Knowing that Anna Dickinson will be as great a wonder to another generation as Joan of Arc is to this, the testimony of our leading journals to her eloquence and power furnishes an important page in future history:--

Miss Dickinson at the Cooper Institute.

The crowd at the Cooper Institute last evening must be truly called immense, no other word being adequate to the emergency. The attraction was an address by Miss Anna E. Dickinson, of Philadelphia, upon the subject of “ The Day — the Cause.”

She is of the medium height, slight in form, graceful in movement; her head, well-poised, is adorned with full and heavy dark hair, displaying to advantage a pleasant face, which has the signs of nervous force and of vigorous mental life. In manner she is unembarrassed, without a shade of boldness ; her gesticulation is simple, drawing to itself no remark; her voice is of wonderful power, penetrating rather than loud, as clear as the tone of metal, and yet with a reed-like softness. Her vocabulary is simple, and in no instance can there be seen a straining after effective expressions; yet her skill in using the ordinary stores of our daily language is so great, that with a single phrase she presents a picture, and delivers a poem in a sentence.

Miss Dickinson shows in her oratorical method the feminine peculiarities which lead her sex to prefer results to preliminaries, the sharply defined success of conclusions to the regularly progressing course of previous argument. Her lecture was consequently very effective to the ear, and difficult to report with justice to the speaker. She defined the contest with the South as the struggle between liberty and slavery in the broadest sense of the words, extending to the moral, mental, and social world, and illustrated her position with rapid allusions to the political history of the last ten years. She then drew a variety of comparisons between the loyalty of the two parties at the North, and, in answer to the question what sort of generals each had given to the country, made [502] some hits of great force at many well-known officers, and paid a tribute of praise to others.

It was in this part of her address that the brightness of her wit and the power of condensed expression already alluded to was seen most clearly. A single stroke of the pencil placed not only a name but a character distinctly before the audience, who took quickly, and fully enjoyed every point. The enrolment act, the threats of the Northwest to compromise for themselves and leave New England out in the cold, and the present splendid revival of patriotic confidence in the North,were treated with surprising power. The applause which burst from the audience at almost every sentence was more hearty and enthusiastic than even in the excited political gatherings of an election season, and was, moreover, applause born of the deepest and best feelings of loyalty. At the conclusion of the lecture, which came to a close with a truly beautiful peroration, the Hutchinson family sang one of their best pieces, and then, by request, followed it with the John Brown song, in the chorus of which the audience joined with a thrilling effect.

New York Evening Post.

Her profits from this meeting were nearly a thousand dollars. After her remarkable success in New York, the Philadelphia “Union league,” one of the greatest political organizations in the country, invited her to speak in that city. The invitation was signed by leading Republicans. She accepted it; had a most enthusiastic and appreciative audience, Judge Kelley presiding, and, after all expenses were paid, she had seven hundred dollars. In this address, reviewing the incidents of the war, she criticised General McClellan, as usual, with great severity. Many of his personal friends were present, and some, filled with indignation, left the house, while a derisive laugh followed them to the door. The Philadelphia journals vied with each other in their eulogiums of her grace, beauty,, and eloquence. The marked attention she has always received in her native city is alike most grateful to her and honorable to her fellow-citizens.

July came, and the first move was made to enlist colored troops in Pennsylvania. A meeting was called in Philadelphia. Judge Kelley, Frederick Douglass, and Anna Dickinson were there, and made most eloquent appeals to the people of that State to grant to the colored man the honor of bearing arms in defence of his country. The effort was successful. A splendid [503] regiment was raised, and their first duty was to serenade the young orator who had spoken so eloquently for their race all through the war. The summer passed in rest and study.

In September, a field-day was announced at Camp William Penn. General Pleasanton reviewed the troops. It was a very brilliant and interesting occasion, as many were about to leave for the seat of war. As the day closed and the people began to disperse, it was noised round that Miss Dickinson was there; a cry was heard at once on all sides, “A speech! A speech!” The moon was just rising, mingling its pale rays with those of the setting sun, throwing a soft, mysterious light over the whole scene. The troops gathered round with bristling bayonets and flags flying, the band was hushed to silence, and, when all was still, mounted on a gun wagon, with General Pleasanton and his staff on one side, and General Wagner and his staff on the other, this beautiful girl addressed “our boys in blue.” She urged that justice and equality might be secured to every citizen in the republic; that slavery and war might end forever, and peace be restored; that our country might indeed be the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

As she stood there uttering words of warning and prophecy, it seemed as if her lips had been touched with a live coal from the altar of heaven. Her inspired words moved the hearts of our young soldiers to deeds of daring, and gave fresh courage to those about to bid their loved ones go, and die, if need be, for freedom and their country. The hour, the mysterious light, the stillness, the novel surroundings, the youth of the speaker, all gave a peculiar power to her words, and made the scene one of the most thrilling and beautiful on the page of history.

In the autumn of 1862, she was engaged to go to Ohio, to speak for a few weeks before election, and a large sum of [504] money was pledged for her services. But some Pennsylvania politicians, appreciating her power, and desiring her help at home, decided to outbid Ohio and keep her in her own State. Accordingly she accepted their proposals, and threw her whole energy and enthusiasm into that campaign. She endured all manner of discomforts and dangers in travelling through the benighted mining districts of the State. She met with scorn, ridicule, threats of violence, and more than once was pelted with rotten eggs and stones, in the midst of a speech. But she went through it all with the calmness and coolness of an experienced warrior. One of the committee admitted afterward that Miss Dickinson was sent through that district because no man dared to go. She returned home after weeks of hard labor and intense excitement, weary and exhausted, and though all agreed that the Republican victory in that State was largely due to her influence, the committee forgot their promises, and, to this hour, have never paid her one cent for her valuable services. Their excuse was, that the fund had been used up in paying other speakers. As if a dozen honorable men could not have raised something in an hour of victory to reward this brave and faithful girl. During the winters of 1863 and 1864, she received invitations, from the State Legislatures of Ohio and Pennsylvania, to speak in their capitals at Columbus and Harrisburg. In January, 1864, she made her first address in Washingtan. Though she now believed that her success as an orator was established, yet she hesitated long before accepting this invitation. To speak before the President, Chief Justice, Senators, Congressmen, Foreign Diplomats, all the dignitaries and honorables of the government, was one of the most trying ordeals in her experience. She had one of the largest and most brilliant audiences ever assembled in the capitol, and was fully equal to the occasion. She made a profound impression, and was the topic of conversation [505] for days afterwards. At the close of the meeting, she was presented to the President and other dignitaries,, and, the next day, had a pleasant interview with the President at the White House.

As this was one of the greatest occasions of her life, and as she was honored as no man in the nation ever had been, it may be satisfactory to all American women to know by whom she was invited and how she acquitted herself. Accordingly, I give the invitation and some comments of the press.


To Miss Anna E. Dickinson, Philadelphia, Pa.:

Heartily appreciating the value of your services in the campaigns in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York, and the qualities that have combined to give you the deservedly high reputation you enjoy; and desiring as well to testify that appreciation as to secure ourselves the pleasure of hearing you, we unite in cordially inviting you to deliver an address this winter at the capital, at some time suited to your own convenience.

Gentlemen,--I thank you sincerely for the great and most unexpected honor which you have conferred upon me by your kind invitation to speak in Washington.

Accepting it, I would suggest the 16th of January, as the time; desiring the proceeds to be devoted to the help of the suffering freedmen.

Truly yours, Anna E. Dickinson. 1710 Locust St., Philadelphia, Jan. 7, 1864.


The House of Representatives, by a remarkably large vote, have tendered Miss Dickinson the use of their hall for the occasion.

Admission to the floor of the House, $1 00; to the galleries, 50 cents. Tickets for sale at the principal hotels and bookstores.

Miss Anna Dickinson's lecture in Washington. [from the regular correspondent of the evening Post.]

Washington, Jan. 17, 1864.
Miss Dickinson's lecture in the Hall of the House of Representatives, last night, was a gratifying success and a splendid personal triumph. She can hardly fail to regard it as the most flattering ovation — for such it was — of her life. Long before the hour designated in the newspapers for the commencement of the lecture the hall was filled, the capacious galleries as well as the floor. Seats for five hundred persons had been arranged upon the floor, and the tickets-one dollar each — were sold by noon of Saturday.

A large number of Congressmen were present with their wives and daughters, and many of the leading men of the departments. Here and there an opposition member was visible, but so few in number as to make those who were present unpleasantly conspicuous. At precisely half-past 7 Miss Dickinson came in, escorted by Vice-President Hamlin and Speaker Colfax. A platform had been built directly over the desk of the official reporters, and in front of the clerk's desk, from which the lecturer spoke. Mr. Hamlin sat upon her right and Mr. Colfax upon her left. She was greeted with loud cheers as she came in, and Mr. Hamlin introduced her to the select audience in a neat speech, in which he very happily compared her to. the Maid of Orleans.

This scene was one which would evidently test severely the powers of a most accomplished orator, for the audience was not composed of the enthusiastic masses of the people, but rather of loungers, office-holders, orators, critics, and men of the world. But the fair speaker did not seem to be embarrassed in the least,--not even by the movements of a crazy man in the galleries, who carried a flag, which he waved over her head when she uttered any sentiment particularly stirring or eloquent.

At eight o'clock Mr.Lincoln and Mrs. Lincoln came in, and not even the utterance of a fervid passage in the lecture could repress the enthusiasm of the audience. It was a somewhat amusing fact that just as the president entered the hall, she was criticising, with some sharpness, his Amnesty Proclamation and the Supreme Court; and the audience, as if feeling it to be their duty to applaud a just sentiment, even at the expense of courtesy, sustained the criticism with a round of deafening cheers. The crazy man in the gallery, as if electrified by the courage of the young woman, waved his flag to and fro with frantic delight. Mr. Lincoln sat meekly through it, not in the least displeased. Perhaps he knew that sweets were to come, but whether he did or not, they did come, for Miss Dickinson soon alluded to him and his course as president, and nominated him as his own successor in 1865. The popularity of the president in Washington was duly attested by volleys of cheers.

The lecture itself was an eloquent one, and it was delivered very finely. Miss Dickinson has evidently made a most favorable impression upon Congress and the people of Washington. After the lecture was finished the audience called lustily for Mr. Lincoln to speak, but he edged his way out of the crowd to a side door, telling the vice-president on his way out that he was too much embarrassed to speak; which statement, made known [507] to the people present by Mr. Hamlin, caused much laughter. The “ freedmen” will obtain over one thousand dollars as the solid result of the lecture; those present as hearers were delighted; and Miss Dickinson has the consolation of feeling not only that she has aided a good cause, but that she has achieved a fine personal triumph. B.

Miss Dickinson's lecture in Washington

At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Freedmen's Relief Society of the District of Columbia held on the 26th of January, 1864, the following letter was read:--

Washington, January 23, 1864.
Rev. W. H. Channing:
Sir,--We have the honor to enclose herewith a draft for ten hundred and thirty dollars, being the proceeds of the lecture delivered by Miss Anna E. Dickinson, in the House of Representatives, on Saturday evening, the 16th inst.

It is the special request of Miss Dickinson that this fund be appropriated for the benefit of the National Freedmen's Relief Society of the District of Columbia, of which you are the vice-president.

It was in response to an invitation of members of Congress that Miss Dickinson delivered her lecture at the capitol. Her benevolence and patriotism evinced in this gift entitle her to the gratitude not only of those who are the recipients of her munificence, but of every lover of his country.

Very respectfully, your obedient servants, H. Hamlin, Schuyler Colfax.

Immediately upon her return from Washington, she was invited by a large number of the leading citizens of Philadelphia to repeat her Washington address in the Academy of Music, to which she replied :--

Gentlemen,--I thank you heartily for the honor conferred on me by your most kind invitation, and for the added pleasure of receiving it from my own city of Philadelphia. I would name Wednesday, the 27th inst., as the time.

Truly yours, Anna E. Dickinson, Washington, D. C., January 20, 1864.

The profound impression she made at Washington greatly heightened her rapidly increasing reputation, and she was urged to deliver that address both in New York and Boston. [508]

In Boston, George Thompson, the eloquent English orator and member of Parliament, paid this beautiful tribute to her genius:--

My Friends,
If one unaccustomed to public speaking is ever placed in an embarrassing position, it is when he is called upon, as I am now, to address an audience that has been so charmed and highly excited by such eloquence as that which it has been your privilege and my privilege to listen to to-night. Shakespeare says, “As when some actor who has crossed the stage retires, the eye looks listlessly to see who follows next;” and so I come before you to-night. I have nothing to address to you to-night, nothing. I have been spellbound. America, be proud of your daughter! Were she my countrywoman, I should be proud of my country for her sake. Appreciate her, reward her by following her counsels. I must confess, long accustomed as I have been to public meetings, and hearing the best eloquence on either side of the Atlantic, and to hearing those who are esteemed our most gifted men in Parliament, I have listened to no speech which, for its pathos, its argument, its satire, its eloquence, its humor, its sarcasm, and its well-directed denunciations, has ever been surpassed by any I have heard before. I pray God that the life of this lady may be spared, that she may. see the desire of her heart in the unanimous adoption by her fellow-citizens of the great principles she has enunciated to-night. Give me America free from slavery. Give me America in which shall be established universally, as your lecturer has said to-night, without distinction of clime, color, class, or condition, liberty for all, government by all and for all.

Her reputation was now thoroughly established, and during that winter she addressed lyceums nearly every night at a hundred dollars. “Chicago; or, the last ditch,” was the title of the lecture she delivered in all our Northern cities. In the spring she made a few campaign speeches in Connecticut. She used what influence she had to prevent the renomination of Mr. Lincoln; for she distrusted his plan of reconstruction, after an interview with him, in which he read to her his correspondence with General Banks, then military commander at New Orleans. She was convinced in that interview that in his policy he was looking to a re-election instead of maturing sound measures for reconstruction. During that presidential campaign, though she continually laid bare the record of the Democratic party, the treason of its leaders and generals, and its want of loyalty during the war, yet she had [509] no word of praise for Mr. Lincoln. She never took his name upon her lips, except to state facts of history, after the Baltimore Convention, until his death. She was invited to go to California during that campaign, and offered thousands of dollars, if she would go there and speak for Mr. Lincoln; which she declined. At the opening of the lyceum course that fall, in consequence of her position with reference to the Republican nominee, she had not a dozen invitations for the winter; but, as the season advanced, they began to come in as usual, showing that the committees had withheld them during the months preceding the election, hoping, no doubt, to awe her to silence on Mr. Lincoln. In 1865, she spoke in Philadelphia on the Lincoln monument, and cleared a thousand dollars, which she gave to Alexander Henry, the mayor, to be appropriated for that purpose. On this occasion, she paid a beautiful tribute to the many virtues of our martyred president, delicately making no mention of his faults.

One of the most powerful and impressive appeals that she ever made was in the Convention of Southern Loyalists, held in Philadelphia in September, 1866. In this convention there was a division of opinion between the Border and the Gulf States. The latter wanted to incorporate “negro suffrage” in their platform, as that was the only means of success for the liberal party at the South. The former, manipulated by Northern politicians, opposed that measure, lest it should defeat the Republican party in the pending elections at the North. This stultification of principle, of radical public sentiment, stirred the soul of Anna, and she desired to speak in the convention. But a rule that none but delegates should be allowed that privilege prevented her. However, as the Southern men had never heard a woman in public, and felt great curiosity to hear her, they adjourned the convention, resolved themselves into a committee of the whole, and invited her to address them. The following sketch from an eyewitness [510] will give some idea of the effect she produced on Southern men--

A good-natured view

Of some matters in and about the Convention is given in the following spicy letter of James Redpath to the Boston Traveller: --

The address of Anna E. Dickinson.

Philadelphia, Sept. 7.
My last despatch from the Convention predicted that the border statesmen would receive a lecture from Anna Dickinson, and stated that they acted as if they anticipated it. This prediction was formed from the appearance of the Maryland delegation, and a knowledge of the character of the orator; and it was fulfilled.

It was curious to note the audience. There sat, directly in front of the platform, three or four hundred Southern men, few of whom had ever heard a woman speak,--few of whom could debate, when antagonistic views were advanced, without the grossest personal vituperation.

Their ideal of controversial oratory was with them, and sitting at the right hand of the young maiden as she stepped forward to deliver a speech as denunciatory as ever he uttered, but as free from offensive personal allusions as any oration can be. It was Brownlow, the bitterest and foulest-tongued man in the South. On her left sat John Minor Botts, with his lips tightly compressed, and his face telling plainly that he remained there from courtesy, but would remain a patient listener to the speech.

She began; and, for the first time since it met, the Convention was so still that the faintest whisper could be heard. She had not spoken long before she declared that Maryland had no-business in the Convention, but ought to have been with the delegates who came to welcome. There was vehement applause from the border States.

“ That is a direct insult!” shouted a delegate from Maryland.

She went on without regarding these coarse interruptions, reviewing the conduct of the border States with scorn, and talking, with an eloquence I never heard equalled in any previous effort, in favor of an open, hearty, manly declaration of the real opinion of the Convention for justice to the colored loyalist, not in the courts only, but at the ballot-box.

There was none of the flippancy or pertness which sometimes disfigures her public speeches. It was her noblest style throughout,--bold but tender, and often so pathetic that she brought tears to every eye. Every word came through her heart, and it went right to the hearts of all. Kentucky and Maryland now listened as eagerly as Georgia and Alabama.

Brownlow's iron features and Botts' rigid face soon relaxed, and tears stood in the old Virginian's eyes more than once, while the noble Tennesseean moved his place, and gazed at the inspired girl with an interest and wonderment which no other orator had brought to the fanatic's hard face.

She had the audience in hand as easily as a mother holds her child; and, like the child, this audience heard her heart beat. It was ennobled thereby. It was really a marvellous speech. The fullest report of it would not do it justice, because the greatness lay in its manner and its effect, as well as in its argument. [511]

When she finished, one after another Southern delegate came forward, and pinned on her dress the badges of their States, until she wore the gifts of Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland.

There have been many speculations in public and private as to the authorship of Anna Dickinson's speeches. They have been attributed to Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, George W. Curtis, and Judge Kelley. Those who know Anna's conversational power, who have felt the magnetism of her words and manners, and the pulsations of her generous heart, who have heard her impromptu replies when assailed, see at once that her speeches are the natural outgrowth of herself, her own experience and philosophy, inspired by the eventful times in which she lived.

As well ask if Joan of Arc drew her inspiration from the warriors of her day. It was no man's wish or will that Anna Dickinson uttered the highest thought in American politics in this crisis of our nation's history; that she pointed out the cause and remedy of the war, and unveiled treason in the army and the White House. While, in the camp and hospital, she spoke words of tenderness and love to the sick and dying, she did not hesitate to rebuke the incapacity and iniquity of those in high places. She was among the first to distrust McClellan and Lincoln, and in a lecture entitled “My policy” to unveil his successor, Andrew Johnson, to the people. She saw the sceptre of power grasped by the party of freedom, and the first gun fired at Sumter, in defence of slavery. She saw the dawn of the glorious day of emancipation, when four million American slaves were set free, and that night of gloom, when the darkest page in American history was written in the blood of its chief. She saw our armies go forth to battle, the youth, the promise, the hope of the — nation,--two million strong,--and saw them return, with their ranks thinned and broken, their flags tattered and stained, the maimed, halt, [512] and blind, the weary and worn; and this, she said, is the price of liberty. Through the nation's agony was this girl born into a knowledge of her power; and she drew her inspiration from the great events of her day. Her heroic courage, indomitable will, brilliant imagination, religious earnestness, and prophetic forecast, gave her an utterance that no man's thought could paint or inspire.

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New Brighton (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Mullica Hill, New Jersey (New Jersey, United States) (1)
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (1)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Longwood (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Hartford (Connecticut, United States) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)
Delaware (Delaware, United States) (1)
Concord, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
Concord (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Chicago (Illinois, United States) (1)
Chester County (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
California (California, United States) (1)
Bucks County (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Boston (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

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